Employee Engagement – You’re Only Part Way There

Research by TowersWatson has revealed that to generate a climate where your employees contribute a consistently high percentage of their capacity you need more that just "engagement." You must add into the mix enablement (a better term for what used to be called empowerment), and employee well-being. Here, very briefly, is what constitutes each element of what they call the "3 E's": Engagement – employee commitment, both rational and emotional, to contributing discretionary (i.e. more than … [Read more...]

Plant Your Talent Investments in Fertile Ground

I recently heard an interesting presentation by Holly Kortright, Senior VP, HR of Deltek. She was talking about where her company has decided to direct their available resources for employee capacity development. They target four areas: High Potentials for leadership positions High Performers People possessing critical, hard to replace, skills People in key positions (e.g. long experience and intimate knowledge of key work processes) With the US government entering a time of … [Read more...]

Give Me Something (or Someone) to Connect to

There is enough research on Employee Engagement to show that engaged employees give more "discretionary effort" (going above and beyond job expectations…without being told/asked) to their employer. Yet levels of engagement have not changed over the last ten years or so, through a period first of  boom, then of bust. Consider this data from the Gallup organization. They surveyed around percent of employees who are (1) engaged, (2) not engaged, and (3) actively disengaged. Check the trend since … [Read more...]

Talent Magnets

In my leadership workshops and keynote speeches I sometimes ask the group/audience to think of the best boss and worse boss they've ever had, what each did, and what effect it had on you. People come up with all kinds of descriptors and behaviors of both bosses. But one thing emerges about the best boss ever (BBE). He or she is someone you want to work for…and keep working for. Furthermore, a BBE is almost always someone that others in the organization would like to work for too. When an … [Read more...]

Keep in Touch with Your Best Former Employees

It's been a smart idea for years. When good employees leave your organization for greener pastures and the departure is amicable, why not keep in contact? You never know, some may find that that grass isn't, in fact, greener and that your firm was a pretty good place to work after all. A recent WSJ article shares what some firms, especially the larger professional consulting firms, are doing to maintain a former employee "alumni network." These can be elaborate initiatives involving message … [Read more...]

One Employee at a Time

Back in the 90's the Royal Bank of Canada had a series of TV commercials touting the theme, "Building a Better Bank, One Customer at a Time." The message, as I recall, was that RBC treats each customer as a unique individual and strives to win them over, one-at-a-time.   I frequently refer to this ad campaign in my management development workshops. The parallels are natural… RBC has customers, current and new. Managers have employees, current and newly hired. RBC seeks to … [Read more...]

The Four Strategic HR Challenges for the Upcoming Decade

Boston Consulting Group, in conjunction with an association of people management associations worldwide, completed a comprehensive on-line + live interviews study on how they are approaching strategic human capital development for the next decade. It's called "Creating People Advantage 2010" and worth downloading if you are concerned with the strategic element of human resources in your organization. Among a wide-ranging group of topics, their results address how human resources challenges … [Read more...]

Behold the Motivational Moose

"Don't they get it?" said the executive, "If we don't generate a good return to our shareholders, there won't be any investment in the company. And, without investments, there won't be any more company to give them their job. What more motivation do they need?" Do you hear a faint echo of your parents here? Here is the reality, the "moose (hey, what can I say, I'm from Canada) in the room" when it comes to the subject of employee motivation. What motivates the C-suite occupants in a … [Read more...]

Leadership Makes a Difference–at Every Level

In the US Federal Government, as many studies have also shown for private industry, leadership–especially at the senior level–is the primary factor around how employees view their workplace. This comes from the 2010 report on The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. The report distinguishes between leadership at the executive level and at all managerial levels. Senior Leadership – the level of respect employees have for senior leaders, satisfaction with the amount of information … [Read more...]

Trust, Communications, Leadership…and Retention

I've been approached by a prospective client who wants a workshop as part of an internal strategic initiative around communications between the levels. They want to focus on: 2-way communication, down to the employee and upward to the manager what should be communicated and when obstacles to communicating more openly how to solicit communication from staff listening creating a climate where it's safe to speak your mind This stuff just doesn't go away as an issue, does it? I … [Read more...]